MEET ASHLEE RZYCZYCKI: OUR CAMERON DIAZ LOOK-A-LIKE The Erie, PA native attended Mercyhurst for undergrad and was in the same graduating class as our very own Amy Weaver-Kaulis! Though she wasn’t always a fashion merchandising major--she spent her first 2 years of college studying art therapy before deciding it wasn’t for her-- Ashlee has
a passion for fashion and teaching that makes her the perfect new addition to our department. This isn’t Ashlee’s first time in the classroom however. She taught at Mercyhurst for one year before moving to Kentucky with her husband where she taught courses on health and wellness at the University of Kentucky. While she was there, she was able to combine her love for fitness and fashion by putting on fashion shows to raise awareness for heart disease and
breast cancer. She also previously worked at Saint Vincent’s Hospital where she organized wellness and fitness courses for employees. Ashlee is a strong advocate for the awareness of mind, body and spirit which is why in her free time she is largely in to running marathons. Through her previous work, the best advice she can give a student looking to enter the work force is “Be passionate about what you do. If you believe in what you’re doing you will be successful 110% of the time. Understand the importance of small, mundane things and try to see how they fit into the bigger picture and be passionate about them too. You’ll stand out. Also be willing to be flexible—play a critical role in any situation, as an individual or on a team.” Ashlee’s passion is what makes her such a great teacher. Ashlee prides herself on bringing a new perspective to the department since she is fresh out of the work force. She is extremely approachable and wants to be our confidante because she’s been in our shoes and has insights she wants to share on how to navigate new situations in the working world. Her goal as a teacher is to prepare us and give us the skills we need to be successful in a job. She can’t speak enough of the professors here and how passionate they are and also how fortunate the students here are to have professors that care about the well-being and job placement of each of their students. "Its life changing being here", she says. We are lucky to have her. Welcome, Ashlee!
Alumni Spotlight: Valeria & Elena
Even before attending Mercyhurst I dreamed about designing, I remember my obsession at the time was focused on women’s shoes. Nevertheless when choosing a career path came along, I decided on Fashion Merchandising. Deciding on Mercyhurst was easy. The program offered me both the opportunity to learn the fundamentals, while preparing me for the commercial challenges of a fast growing and ever-changing industry. The courses I took and the professors I had the privilege to learn from, prepared me to make the best decisions when facing past and upcoming challenges. In September I launched my brand Valeria & Elena, specialized in making minimalistic, handcrafted leather products, designed by me, and manufactured in El Salvador. By
selecting only the highest quality leathers and colors, my goal is to show the world the excellent material resources we own, as well as the outstanding artisanal skill in our people. I want to develop products that can compete with International brands in the market, demonstrating that Hand Made in El Salvador is an added value. Valeria & Elena is now operating online and has the chance to ship worldwide. In the near future we are working on getting into boutiques and department stores in markets such as: Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Peru, and the United States as well as online at www.valeriayelena.com. Mercyhurst taught me that visions are worth fighting for, especially if it means working for what you love for the rest of your life. -VALERIA SILVA-ESTEVES ‘14
Mercyhurst University Fashion Merchandising Newsletter, Fall 2016